27 February 2010

TEFL Forum: ELT - J Issue #2 Preview Articles in Downloadable Form

Issue 2 of ELT in Japan will consist of four articles: (1)  "Teaching English [l] sounds vs. [r] sounds: Integrating applied phonology into the EFL classroom"; (2) "Devising multiple-choice questions, quizzes and tests"; (3) "Semantic mapping activities for the speaking class"; and (4)"Semantic mapping activities for the writing class". 

Articles (2) and (3) are now available as a preview of the full issue. 

You can now download the two preview articles for ELT J #2 in .pdf. The best way from Firefox browser is to left-click the link and save the file. It should download through your browser or default downloader program.You might have to right-click your mouse if the left-click loads the document. However, if you have the correct Adobe Plug-ins, the pdfs can be viewed from your browser and then saved from there as well.

Two articles as PDFs.

1. Devising Multiple-choice Questions, Quizzes and Tests. pdf

2. Semantic mapping activities for the speaking class.pdf
Alternatively, you can view them first as GoogleDocuments and choose to download them from the download feature there (upper left of page).  

1. Devising Multiple-choice Questions, Quizzes and Tests


introductory excerpt:

In this article we will look at how to introduce students to 'English-only' multiple-choice questions and then how to use such questions to assess students and evaluate courses. The focus here will be  specifically on using multiple-choice questions to construct tests that assess vocabulary learning drawn from the syllabus, materials, and content of specific EFL classes--i.e., the classes you have to teach and your students have to attend. It is hoped that these explanations and examples will serve, for example, teachers who have to give grades to hundreds of students each semester and have limited time to do other types of testing (such as oral interviews or projects, which can be too time-consuming to manage if you teach hundreds of students).

2. Semantic mapping activities for the speaking class


introductory excerpt:

In TEFL situations, when we say 'vocabulary study', the two activities that most often come to mind for students quite likely are (1) looking up words in a bi-lingual dictionary and (2) compiling and studying bi-lingual word lists. If this is what is meant by vocabulary study, it hardly could be called 'systematic'. The weaknesses of such an approach to vocabulary are many. For example, students may use an L1-L2 dictionary to confirm the meanings of an L1 meaning in L2, and then forget the L2 item. Also, bi-lingual word lists are hard to organise; indeed, they lack any organising principle except that an L1 word should be matched with an L2 counterpart and that such items, once translated, should follow each other on a list. Little wonder then students do not find time to study and review them. What is more, the input of vocabulary to be learnt, revised, or reviewed is too limited to items (words, phrases) encountered in the textbook or specified by the teacher. Finally, and most importantly for the purpose of this introduction, the most obvious flaw is that there is very little communicative or social linguistic activity required to use a dictionary or make a bilingual word list.  An alternative to this is using a semantic mapping activity.

26 February 2010

'Financial Times' video piece on Okinawa issue

The US military's bases in Okinawa comprise one of the most important issues likely to affect the US-Japan relationship. Okinawa is often viewed as one of the poorer and lesser-developed areas of Japan.

Little wonder then that some questioned the wisdom of putting a new research university there because of the huge expense and the location's remoteness. We covered this story here at Japan HEO here.

Some argue that it's the US military's presence that continues to hold Okinawa back. It certainly uses a lot of the best land and negatively impacts civilian commercial development, tourism and agriculture.

When I visited Okinawa, my impressions were that they were culturally distinct from mainstream Japanese culture (but not backward) and that they were unfairly burdened with hosting the enormous US military bases (which are mostly there to position US power closer to two hot zones: China-Taiwan, North Korea-South Korea).

See this Financial Times' report for more background on the Okinawa base issue.


Videographs on the political economy of Asia and Japan

Japan HEO specializes in covering the higher education sector of Japan. But that sector plugs into the larger political economy that makes its existence possible.

Japan is Asia's first fully developed economy and the world's number two in size (although China is predicted to overtake it this year). Japan HEO recommends these videographics from the Economist about Asia and Japan. The complete collection can be found here.

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